Another statement of the simple gospel

Another statement of the simple gospel March 16, 2005

Covenant Life Church quotes a gospel celebration which does a fantastic job of explaining the gospel. The church also has a great statement of faith which, like the somewhat less detailed new UK Evangelical Alliance statement of faith I would have no problem signing. The discussion of the simple gospel will never stop, for it is the gospel itself that saves but also, I do believe that the preaching of the gospel does good in a believers heart, and if done right can indeed be described as what John Schroeder helpfully calls transformative preaching

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is new, good news: the best and most important news that any human being ever hears. This Gospel declares the only way to know God in peace, love, and joy is through the reconciling death of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

This Gospel is the central message of the Holy Scriptures, and is the true key to understanding them………

This Gospel is the only Gospel: there is no other; and to change its substance is to pervert and indeed destroy it. This Gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches…….

The Father sent the Son to free us from the dominion of sin and Satan, and to make us God’s children and friends. Jesus paid our penalty in our place on his cross, satisfying the retributive demands of divine justice by shedding his blood in sacrifice and so making possible justification for all who trust in him (Ro 3:25 26). The Bible describes this mighty substitutionary transaction as the achieving of ransom, reconciliation, redemption, propitiation, and conquest of evil powers (Mt 20:28; 2Co 5:18 21; Ro 3:23 25; Jn 12:31; Col 2:15). It secures for us a restored relationship with God that brings pardon and peace, acceptance and access, and adoption into God’s family (Col 1:20, 2:13 14; Ro 5:1 2; Gal 4:4 7; 1Pe 3:18). The faith in God and in Christ to which the Gospel calls us is a trustful outgoing of our hearts to lay hold of these promised and proffered benefits.

This Gospel further proclaims the bodily resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Jesus as evidence of the efficacy of his once-for-all sacrifice for us, of the reality of his present personal ministry to us, and of the certainty of his future return to glorify us (1Co 15; Heb 1:1 4, 2:1 18, 4:14 16, 7:1 10:25). In the life of faith as the Gospel presents it, believers are united with their risen Lord, communing with him, and looking to him in repentance and hope for empowering through the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they may not sin but serve him truly.

God’s justification of those who trust him, according to the Gospel, is a decisive transition, here and now, from a state of condemnation and wrath because of their sins to one of acceptance and favor by virtue of Jesus’ flawless obedience culminating in his voluntary sin-bearing death. God ‘justifies the wicked’ (ungodly: Ro 4:5) by imputing (reckoning, crediting, counting, accounting) righteousness to them and ceasing to count their sins against them (Ro 4:1 8). Sinners receive through faith in Christ alone ‘the gift of righteousness’ (Ro 1:17, 5:17; Php 3:9) and thus be come ‘the righteousness of God’ in him who was ‘made sin’ for them (2Co 5:21).

As our sins were reckoned to Christ, so Christ’s righteousness is reckoned to us. This is justification by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. All we bring to the transaction is our need of it. Our faith in the God who bestows it, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is itself the fruit of God’s grace. Faith links us savingly to Jesus, but inasmuch as it involves an acknowledgment that we have no merit of our own, it is confessedly not a meritorious work.

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